Aiming for the stars
His Majesty The King has been her role model since childhood.
Twenty-five year old Yeshey Choden has high standards as is her occupation as Bhutan’s first female satellite engineer.
“I take inspiration and guidance from His Majesty’s speeches and His Majesty’s every day actions of care and concern for our country,” she said.
Moreover, she said His Majesty’s farsighted vision to develop Bhutan and his selfless service to the people of Bhutan inspires her to become a better person each day.
“As the space initiative is a vision of His Majesty the King, it was only natural for me to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and challenge myself to endeavor in fulfilling His Majesty’s vision,” said Yeshey Choden.
She works at Division of Telecom and Space, Department of Information Technology and Telecom under information and communications ministry (MoIC).
She graduated in civil engineering at National University of Singapore under His Majesty The King’s scholarship.
After her graduation, she was placed at MoIC and further got an opportunity to study Masters in Space Engineering at Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan.
“I was fortunate to be selected. The fact that I did engineering in my undergrad and the fact that I took science stream in high school enabled me to fulfill the criteria for selection,” said Yeshey Choden.
Speaking about her profession being male dominant, she said, “The biggest challenge is our mindset, the stereotypes that have been formed in our society. We have a tendency to compartmentalize objects, people, behaviors, and perceptions.”
Additionally, Yeshey Choden said there is no gender gap in her field as the level of contribution that one makes strictly depends on one’s intellectual capability.
However, she also feels that it is important to intentionally and measurably break those stereotypes through proactive leadership that promotes values of gender equality and meritocracy.
Her profession, she expresses, is her biggest life achievement and she is extremely blessed and fortunate.
“I also feel a greater sense of responsibility towards the younger generation of our country and especially the young girls who will look up to me,” said Yeshey Choden.
“Being the torchbearer as the first female satellite engineer is not something that has been done before,” she added.
She believes that this is an exclusive opportunity for her and the moral responsibility to pave a path for the future falls on here.
Her profession as a satellite engineer includes developing and operating satellites, designing space applications systems, study space science, and technology developments.
“It is my passion to promote, outreach, and educate about space science and technology to the general public and youth,” said Yeshey Choden.
Apart from her interest in space technology, she also likes experimenting and trying out new things like food and sports.
Yeshey Choden also likes to volunteer and make time for social service.
On August 10, 2018, Bhutan’s first CubeSat BHUTAN-1 was successfully deployed from the International Space Station (ISS).
It was possible through the collective effort of engineers Kiran Pradhan, Cheki Dorji, Yeshey Choden and Pooja Lepcha.
Bhutan, in 2016, sent engineers to the Kyushu Institute of Technology to study space engineering and to participate in the BIRDS-2 Project.
Thukten Zangpo from Thimphu